Josh Sweat was always primed to take a step in the right direction in 2020. His sophomore campaign was one of huge strides that saw him really cement himself as a regular in this Eagles defense. After a strong Summer and some worrying injuries at the position in week one, the breakout season seems even more likely.
You guys saw him in training camp. He’s one of our most improved players.Jim Schwartz on Josh Sweat after week one.
Sweat was absolutely dominant against the Redskins. With depth weakened, he played in 70% of snaps and made every single one count. In fact, his 3 tackle, 1 sack outing actually pushed him to becoming Pro Football Focus’s second-highest graded DE in week one.
Still 23-years-old and in his third year, Sweat has come on leaps and bounds since a rookie year that was haunted by injuries and underwhelming play. When asked about an offseason of development and a summer in the sun, Jim Schwartz was very complimentary of the FSU product when speaking to reporters today.
Just consistency of what he’s doing. I think it was regarding Josh that I threw that baseball analogy, the pitcher, the repeatable motion. You guys know I have a lot of baseball analogies. I think that’s right on. Those guys that their motion looks different all the time, they can have a great pitch, then all of a sudden throw four balls, walk the bases loaded. And you just don’t know what you are getting.
I think Josh has really taken that to heart. I think that Coach Burke [run game coordinator/defensive line coach Matt Burke] and Coach Washburn [director of player personnel/senior defensive assistant Jeremiah Washburn] and Coach Ollie [assistant defensive line coach Nathan Ollie] have really emphasized that kind of stuff, that repeatable motion, consistency of their stance, and get-off, those things. It’s really shown through for him.
He’s always had a lot of ability, but like a lot of other players he just needed to refine his game a little bit more. I think he’s going to be a big contributor for us this year.
The talent has always been there. Standing at 6’5, 251 lbs, Josh Sweat felt like a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off. After bulking up last offseason, he managed to produce 4 sacks, 10 QB hits, 13 hurries, 15 run stops, and 7 tackles for loss. He also graded as the Eagles’ second most-efficient pass rusher.
That snowball has not stopped rolling. An explosive week one performance was exactly what the doctor ordered. With Brandon Graham in concussion protocol, Vinny Curry on IR, and Derek Barnett’s whereabouts unknown, there’s a very good chance that Sweat may suddenly be the captain of the ship at defensive end, paving way to even more snap exposure and play-time. Oddly, it may be a silver lining for a team whose long-term picture at defensive end is cloudy at best.
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